Saturday, November 3, 2012

First Meeting between the OTP in Battle of Changsha + Cast Photos

Happy Saturday! Due to my current interest in Wallace Huo's new series adapted from an online novel, I decided to share with you a brief translated excerpt. This excerpt involves the very first scene where Wallace Huo's character, Gu Qingming, appears in the novel. I'm actually building up high expectations for this production because it's being directed by an acclaimed mainland TV series director. I want to see how this particular scene will play out onscreen and hope Wallace Huo will have sizzling chemistry with his female co-star, Yang Zi.

Gu Qingming may seem like a total arrogant a$$ at certain times with his pompous attitude and condescension, but I still find his tempestuous relationship with Hu Xiang Xiang extremely entertaining. Since the scriptwriters will substantially expand the role of Gu Qingming in the TV series, I hope this expansion equates to more screen time to develop the OTP relationship. I always love to watch drama series where most of the screen time isn't devoted to the whole process of falling in love and courtship, but some episodes can be written to explore the marriage life and perhaps even parenthood. So I'm very excited to see how the relationship between Gu Qingming and Hu Xiang Xiang will span out onscreen since the original novel doesn't really go in-depth. Anyway, the series looks quite promising so far judging from some leaked photos of the production.
Wallace Huo is standing in his blue uniform while Yang Zi is dressed in her white nursing uniform
Wallace Huo is known in the entertainment industry for his pale complexion. As a soldier, he definitely cannot look like White Tofu!
The once famous White Tofu has turned into Black Sesame.
Xiang Xiang and Gu Qingming
 Xiang Xiang and her twin brother, Xiao Man. Their rebellious behavior and antics are an endless source of  laughs and headaches for the Hu family.
Unknown boy ( a cousin?), Hu Xiang Xiang, and Xiu Xiu (adopted daughter of Hu family)
Xiang Xiang and her nephew
Xiao Man and his bride, Xiu Xiu
Xiao Man's bride, Xiu Xiu
Xiang Xiang after marriage?





Order of character appearance:
Xue Junshan - son-in-law of the Hu family. The brother-in-law of the female protagonist, Xiang Xiang.
Xu Quan - A local government official in the City of Changsha
Gu Qingming - A young intelligent officer whom Xiang Xiang will later marry.
Hu Xiang Xiang - female protagonist of the novel. The youngest child in the Hu family
Hu Xiao Man  - Xiang Xiang's twin brother.
Hu Changling - Xiang Xiang and Xiao Man's scholarly father. He is also a literature professor at a local university. 

After hearing a car honk, Xue Junshan dressed in the traditional changshan paired with a vest hurried to the door with a wide smile. Aside from his direct superior, Security Bureau Chief Xu Quan, another young man in an immaculate military uniform stood before him. After one glance at Gu Qingming, Xue Junsun could not but approve of his good looks. His eyes sharped with intensity and his posture erect added to his tall physique and presented the allure of a scholarly commander.

The bruise on Xu Quan's forehead has not subsided and looked rather comedic. Unfortunately, Xue Junshan dared not to stare. He just bowed and escorted the two men into the living room and asked for tea.

Gu Qingming was not shy at all. He went directly to the sofa and sat down, then threw a hinting look at Xu Quan. After being seated, Xu Quan spoke with a smile. "Little Xue, tell your family's twins to come out and greet the guests."

Judging from the exchange between the two men,Xue Junshan began to feel this inexplicable anger consuming him. As a child, he was never an obedient and did not strive to learn in school, so his father rejected him. Consequently he ended up exploring the world on his own and worked hard to earn the rank that he attained today. This young man, who probably led too much of a comfortable life, only possessed empty aspirations and eyes aiming higher than the ceiling.

This young man was no angelic spirit.

Xue Junshan fought his way into this world without being entitled to any privileges. He felt intense contempt for these privileged second-generation lads who loved to parade their pedigree. No matter how good Gu Qingming looked or how capable he was, Xue Junshan decided to reject him on all grounds.

When Xiang Xiang and Xiao Man stepped into the living room, Xue Junshan frowned at the sight of the twins' style of dress. They did not follow his order to dress in western-style clothing but insisted on wearing their school's uniform.

Xiang Xiang ignored the daggers in Xue Junshan's eyes. Confident and graceful in her gait, Xiang Xiang approached Gu Qingming.

"How are you, Sir? My name is Hu Xiang Xiang and this is my older twin brother Hu Xiang Jiang, nicknamed Xiao Man." Xiang Xiang spoke in perfect standard Mandarin.

Even though her entire face lighted up in a smile, Gu Qingming's cold facial expression failed to even twitch a muscle. He just blatantly examined the twin siblings from head to toe.

Both Gu Qingming and the twins are the stubborn type not easily swayed by others. This meeting seems destined not to end peacefully. Xue Junshan secretly laments at the situation.

In a courteous smile, he said "Would you two gentlemen like to start dinner? All the food is going to get cold."

Gu Qingming did not respond. A long moment later, he suddenly curved the corner of his mouth and pointed at Xu Quan's forehead bruise. "Why did you smack him?" he asked.

Like Xiang Xiang, he also replied in official Mandarin and spoke with a melodic voice. Except his voice vibrated cold chills like icicles in direct collision.

Xiang Xiang froze a bit.

She straightened her back and in response coldly said "The Father of the Republic once said China has four hundred million people. Half the people are men and the other half are women. Women in the past held lowly position, so we must advocate democracy in order to attain equality for both men and women. But this man, whom I don't even know, suddenly appeared before me and wanted to impose his ideals on me. He demanded that I submit to you when I don't even know you. Does that make any sense?

Ever since antiquity, marriage has always been dictated by parents and legitimized under the marriage contract. Nowadays we push for personal choice in marriage. It makes absolutely no sense to concede marriage based on the discretion of some stranger. If such an act wasn't even permissible in the past, why should it be allowed today?"

Xiao Man nailed his eyes on Gu Qingming. He dared not to miss a single opportunity to detect any changes in Gu Qingming's countenance. After careful observation, he caught a glimmer of interest in the officer's eyes.  Relieved, he added with a smile "Concur! The Father and Mother of the Republic married out of personal free will." 

"You're an interesting girl."  Gu Qingming commented and quietly glanced at Xiao Man. Setting his eyes on Xiang Xiang and in a cold grin, he replied "You are an educated girl. You should understand the logic behind the proverb 'when a scholar meets a soldier*'. I strongly advise you not to act before you think. You should never test our limits. Men and women can never be truly equal. Men fight in the battlefront and must be prepared to die for their country at anytime while women lacks the physical prowess to even fight in combat. What use is there for any woman such as yourself to sacrifice your life in battle? In any case, you should be boosting the morale of the fighters to protect the country. Don't let them die in vain and regrets."

* Famous Chinese proverb that says "When a scholar meets a soldier, he may have reason on his side, but to no avail."

"What a twist of logic!" Xiang Xiang shook in fury.

Seeing the situation changed for the worst, Xiao Man immediately pulled Xiang Xiang away. In a serious tone, he said "Mr. Gu, our soldiers in the front lines are fighting the Japanese in order to protect their loved ones from humiliation and mistreatment. I don't know what others would do, but I certainly cannot not accept this type of sacrifice. I will never allow my older and younger sisters to sacrifice themselves!"

"How old are you two?" Gu Qingming asked calmly without a semblance of anger.

"Sixteen." Xue Junxue replied before the twins could open their mouth.

As he repeatedly sent eye signals to the twins, Xue Junshan continued to speak with a smile "Mr. Gu, please do not take the mindless words of a child too seriously!"

Gu Qingming brushed his words aside with his hand. "Don't be nervous. The entire country is currently in peril. I have no intention to find a woman for myself. I heard about the beating incident involving Chief Xu and only wanted to meet girl who dared to be so fearless. Chief Xu, I know you're arranging all this at someone's request. But please don't do such a thing again in the future. There is a great phase that succinctly summed up my feelings: the national enemy** has not been annihilated, how could I start a family? I refuse to believe that a small nation like Japan can swallow up a vast nation like China!"

**A famous phase attributed to the famous Western Han Dynasty General Huo Qubing. He pledged not to marry until the northern nomadic invaders Xiongnu were completely eliminated as a national threat.

Xu Quan's face started to distort a bit.

Turning his eyes, Xue Junshan clasped his hands and said  "Mr. Gu has just arrived in Changsha and is unfamiliar with the area. If you do not mind, I would be more than happy to have these two little rascals take you around? I don't even know where they learned their strange idelogies. They always manage to infuriate me beyond words. I hope you can teach them a lesson."

In a seeming smile, Gu Qingming replied "You don't always have to purposely expend on behalf of my interest. I have absolutely no desire to educate children. In fact, you should ask your father-in-law to give them a good beating. Chief Xu, in his magnanimity, would not take offense to a child's ploy. However, if another high-ranking official was to take such a beating, your life alone would not even enough for you to die!"

Xue Junshan shivered in cold sweat, and repeatedly expressed his thanks. Gu Qingming waved his hand and stood up to leave. Xue Junshan dared not to say another word. He lowered his head and followed them from behind. Once in the courtyard, Hu Changling's loud clear voice echoed from above "Mr. Gu, please wait a moment!"

Gu Qingming stopped in his footsteps and Hu Changling managed to catch up. In a solemn voice, the older man said "The national enemy has not been annihilated, how could I start a family? I am immensely in awe by your attidue. I would be more than happy to give my young daughter's hand in marriage to you. Would you be willing to accept it?"

"Father!"

Both Xiang Xiang and Xiao Man cried out in shock.

Gu Qingming took a glance at them and curved the right corner of his mouth. "Mr. Hu, don't think too highly of yourself. Everyone said the girls of the Xiang region*** are known for their exuberant affections, but all I see is ill-mannered fiestiness. You are at minimum a teacher. Yet you lack the basic ettiquette to greet the guests who pay a visit to your home. Only when the guests are about to leave do you appear before them. How do you expect anyone to accept the daughter you raised!"

***Hunan Province is also referred to as Xiang 湘 region because of the Xiang River.

Xue Junshan feared that Hu Changling's stubborn Confucian ways would cause more trouble. Earlier, Hu Changling had physically overexerted himself in disciplining Xiang Xiang and had stayed upstairs to rest. When he was about to explain himself to Gu Qingming, Xiang Xiang whispered in a plead: "Father, please don't speak anymore!"

Indeed, there was no need to explain anymore. Hu Changling changed his mind. He bowed and raised his arm to escort the guests out. Gu Qingming took one last but deep look at Xiang Xiang. He only saw two fiercely rounded eyes bulging out, quite a funny sight to behold. Gu Qingming just shook his head and strode out.

Read the original novel in Chinese HERE.

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